Information meetings with the university students

This activity envisions conducting information meetings with university and vocational education students in Tbilisi and selected regions of Georgia on migration related topics and EU-Georgia relations. In November-December 2018, the first meetings were organised by the ENIGMMA 2 Project team in TSU, Georgian Technical University and International Black Sea University attended by up to 80 students and academia representatives. The events were held in close cooperation with the PSDA-Public Services Development Agency. The aim of the meetings was to raise the awareness of Georgian students on existing migration challenges in Georgia and worldwide. Economic, social and legal aspects of migration were also discussed at the meetings including promotion of regular mobility and prevention of irregular migration.

The meetings are scheduled to take place throughout (2018/2019).

Schengen/EU Application

In the framework of the ENIGMMA project, PSDA was supported in creating a mobile application, “Schengen/EU App”. In February 2018, the application was handed over to MFA, as a coordinator of awareness raising related to visa free travels, and presented to the general public and media outlets. The event was attended by up to 100 participants. The mobile application helps the citizens of Georgia to monitor the days spent in Schengen/EU zone and calculate the remaining days. It is important that citizens calculate accurately 90 days within a 180- day period in order not to violate visa free regime incidentally. The Application is simple and enables citizens to save the history of travelling in the EU/Schengen zone, calculate the remaining days, share visual information about a specific travel or travel history via social networks, etc. The application can be downloaded free of charge.

Targeted Awareness Raising Measures in Georgia

To ensure continuity and sustainability, ENIGMMA 2 project foresees continuation of organisation and implementation of information campaigns including the support to the government in their efforts on informing the Georgian population about the visa free travel rules and EU-Georgia relations in general. In March 2018 the Georgian Government announced the start of the third phase of the implementation of the EU-Georgia Information and Communication Action Plan. Accordingly, the ENIGMMA 2 information campaign 2018 took into account the priorities set out in the action plan and has contributed to its implementation.

Taking into account some of the already identified aspects of the impact of the visa free regime between the EU/Schengen countries and Georgia, such as an increasing number of asylum applications filed by Georgian citizens  in some EU MS revealed after the visa free regime for Georgian citizens entered into force[1],  as well as continuous need of informing general public and civil society about the rules and obligations related to visa free travel, the key messages of the recent information campaign are related to asylum and its understanding. Moreover, the Government of Georgia strives to maximise the effects of the outreach strategy and key messages aiming at ensuring that all possible tools are used for awareness raising.

The leading institution in implementing the information campaign is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. The information campaign is directed at the general public with a special focus on different regions of Georgia where the needs are the highest.

The goal of the recent campaign was to target the deceptive messages and myths mainly related to EU-Georgia relations and to further prevent the abuse of the visa free regime with the EU.

Information meetings and discussion rounds were organised throughout March-November 2018 with the support of ENIGMMA 2 project in partnership with the MFA. Public discussions were organised at selected universities and municipalities in the regions of Georgia for academia representatives, public servants/local government representatives, media outlets, ethnic minorities and communities living near dividing lines, etc. In total, 58 information meetings in 9 regions of Georgia were conducted: Imereti, Kakheti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Adjara, Guria, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta –Mtianeti, Shida Kartli, Samtskhe – Javakheti.

Thematic trainings for the representatives of travel agencies (approx. 80 participants) and airline companies were held in Tbilisi in March-April 2018. The travel agencies and airline companies were also provided with the printed materials on visa-free travel requirements that were distributed afterwards to the travellers.

Media campaign was also implemented around the country. Accurate information on visa-free travel to the EU, rights and obligations of Georgian citizens, consequences of non-compliance with visa-free travel procedures were provided to the civil society implemented through wide scale media campaign and carried out through various means of communication: 1) development of information clips and airing on TV and Radio Channels – in total placement in 21 Regional TV and Radio Broadcasters (10 ads per month in each broadcaster) (March);  2) airing the information clips on most popular regional channels in Tbilisi (March); 3) dissemination information on ethnic minority languages Abkhazian, Ossetian, Russian via social networks, online media, web-pages (April); 4) publishing articles on visa-free (the content of article will be agreed in advance with the ENIGMMA 2 project) in regional newspapers (8 regional newspapers) (March-April).

Information material were developed and distributed in all regions of Georgia taking into consideration the importance of presenting and delivering the main information in simple and comprehensible way. Therefore, it was crucial to develop visibility materials on key massages of the campaign during all the activities of the Campaign. ENIGMMA 2 project supported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SCMI Secretariat in developing visibility materials (brochures, leaflets and other hand-out materials) and ensured their production and distribution at all the events of the Campaign, as well as took up the translation of the materials in the languages of ethnic minorities. The priorities of the “Information and Communication Action Plan on VLAP” developed by the Government of Georgia and agreed with EU Delegation were taken into account.

 Support to Prevention of THB

The awareness on various migration related topics and especially on threats of irregular migration was always emphasised during the information campaigns organised both by ICMPD and the project beneficiaries or partners. The topic of trafficking in human beings is one of such topics frequently discussed during the information meetings. It is very important to use visibility material during such meetings to raise the awareness of the general public and vulnerable groups on the topic. Therefore, the ENIGMMA project supported preparation and printing of information material related to prevention and fight against THB and its dissemination at various meetings with the population both in the capital and Georgian regions. In order to ensure sustainability, ENIGMMA 2 project continued supporting this activity. In cooperation with the State Fund for Protection and Assistance of Victims of Human Trafficking, the ENIGMMA 2 project supported the development of the following awareness raising material on the topic of THB: leaflets, T-shirts, bags, notepads and pens. The materials are permanently distributed by the State Fund on Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking (State Fund), the Interagency Coordination Council on Combatting Trafficking and the ENIGMMA project team during the meetings in Tbilisi and regions of Georgia. This activity serves the aim of preventing this crime and informing vulnerable groups, potential victims as well as wider public about the assistance programmes and respective services available for the victims of THB.

[1] It needs to be noted that under certain circumstances increasing number of asylum seekers is one of the criteria that may become a ground for initiation of visa-free suspension mechanism by the EU MS concerned.